The Holistic Benefits of Eagle Pose

Camille Dodson
The Holistic Benefits of Eagle Pose

Eagle Pose has it all -- balance, strength, and flexibility. It will have you twisted up like a knot and holding on as hard as you can not to fall over. When you unwind, you’ll find that it’s not just your body that feels untangled, but your mind and spirit as well.

Eagle Pose offers wonderful holistic benefits by stimulating the immune system, encouraging balance, and aligning the chakras.

How-To

Eagle Pose looks a little tricky, and it can be, but here's how to do it:

  • Start by standing in Mountain Pose.
  • Bend the left leg and cross the right leg over it, like you were crossing your legs while sitting in a chair.
  • Then, cross the legs again by tucking the right ankle behind the left calf.
  • Knees should be generously bent.
  • Then, reach the arms straight out in front of you.
  • Cross left elbow over the right.
  • Bend the elbows so the fingers reach upwards.
  • Then, intertwine the hands so your palms touch.
  • Try to lift the spine long and rise through the crown of you head while maintaining a bend in the knees.
  • Lift the hands so the elbows are in line with the shoulders.
  • Relax the shoulders down the back.
  • Steady the gaze on one spot in front of you.

If balance is tricky in this pose, only cross the legs once and place the foot of the lifted leg on the floor. Remember to practice on both sides.

Benefits for Your Immune System

In this pose we are, in a way, constricting the flow of blood through our bodies. This happens when we cross our legs and arms and squeeze them together to maintain balance. This is similar to the pressure we experience during a massage. This massaging action is a great way to stimulate and release the flow of fresh, immunity yielding blood throughout the body.

Good circulation is a key for good immunity. Our immune cells are constantly roaming the body looking for signs of intrusion or attack. Their efforts are hampered when they cannot flow freely. There are a number of reasons why someone would not have good circulation. One is that they have a sedentary lifestyle, which many of us do these days. Another could be constant stress, which leaves the body tense and blocked. 

Whatever the reason, give Eagle a try the next time you feel a cold coming on!

Encouraging Balance

Finding balance is hard, in yoga and in life. Eagle Pose makes balance even harder because that steady gaze on one point, or drishti, is partially blocked by our hands. So now, with an added obstacle in our way, we still have to find balance.

Many adults struggle with balancing poses and feel that their balance is even getting worse as they get older. Perhaps this is also true in their personal lives. Are they struggling to keep a balance between work and a social life? Are they giving everything to their children and not reserving any time for their own self care?

I had a yoga teacher once tell me that the main reason that people couldn’t balance was because they told themselves they couldn’t. Most of us have this inner dialogue running throughout the day telling us what we can and can’t do. She said all we needed to change is the tone of that conversation from saying, “I have terrible balance” to, “I’ve got this, I can do it.”

It makes sense when you think about it. When you’re literally telling your body that it can’t do something, how hard are you actually trying to do it? When you focus all of your energy into doing it, and doing it well, odds are you’ll start to find that balance.

Eagle Pose encourages balance on another level, too. While you are standing steady in the pose, you are also balancing the two sides of your body by practicing equally on both legs. The body is said to hold masculine energy on the right side and feminine energy on the left. If one of these sides is out of balance, you may find yourself feeling overly sensitive (feminine) or overly aggressive (masculine).

Squeezing the two sides together, and then unwinding them, encourages a calming, harmonious effect that brings balance.

Aligning the Chakras

The chakras are a series of energy points running from the base of the tailbone to the crown of the head. Every yoga pose ignites one or more of the chakras. Standing poses relate to the root chakra, while backbends open the heart chakra.

Eagle Pose lights up the root chakra through the strong connection to the floor, as well as the third eye chakra which we use to help find that focal point. These are two really important chakras to tap into if you’re feeling a little lost. We can think of them as our past and future.

The root, or our past, represents our beginning. It is our family, maybe our home, as well as our deep-seated beliefs. Having a strong root chakra means that we are firmly rooted in our sense of self and feel grounded in our lives. If it is unbalanced, the opposite is true.

The third eye is our intuition, a place of knowing and trust in ourselves. A balanced third eye reflects focus. Having both of these chakras in alignment is a powerful way to see yourself through a tumultuous time or a period of big decisions.

Connecting with your root reminds you what is important, what you need to be happy and healthy. Connecting with your third eye helps you to trust your ability to make decisions and act in a way that supports your truth.

Whether you’re feeling unwell physically, or unstable mentally, Eagle Pose is here to help. Taking a few minutes to practice this pose can bring your body, mind, and spirit into balance and alignment. This will in turn help you to refocus and refresh.

What are some benefits of Eagle Pose that you've found? When do you practice it? Share with us and the community in the comments below!